Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Starting my GMAT challenge

When I'm starting my GMAT challenge, I know absolutely nothing about what is it at all (except the abbreviation though. ;)

Few words about myself. I'm 28 years old, have more then 11 years away from my school-days. Although, I had math for a few years in the University, I was too busy to pay enough attention, as I was building my first company. (Never end up as a huge success, but was a great experience).

I'm not a native English speaker. My native languages are Russian and Ukrainian (in some kind). Although, I've got more then 40 articles published and working in the English-speaking environment for about 9 years, I have got less then 3 years of active speaking (living in California - so one can hardly call it English, but Spanglish :).

So all these attributes don't make me a lucky GMAT candidate. However, I plan to target 740+ overall score, plus high numbers for verbal (or whatever it is), as it could be important for admission officers (against non-native speaker applicant). I'm not a top-scores type of the guy, so I'll leave 780-800's for Asian and Indian robots (no offense :). Anyway, 740 is a lot as well.

I've been told that TOEFL would be extremely easy comparing to GMAT, so I left it for dessert. :) I may blog about it eventually, but from experience that my friends shared with me (who positively took TOEFL), not much to write about.

As for now, I have only three books on my table. The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 11th Edition, Quantitative and Verbal Reviews. They are known as must-have books, so it was sure-shot.

I'm going to use some abbreviations during the text. I'll try to make sure to describe them, at least once. :) I'm also using a sample testing grid, that I'm printing out (I'm going to make 50 two-sided copies or so, with 40 questions on one side) and filling out answers there, marking my errors and making notes.

After brief intro, I started the diagnostic test (p.19). First day I went through 24 Problem Solving (PS) questions, ending up with 8 correct answers (that is Below Average (BA) by the grading table at p.45). I've started Data Sufficiency (DS) and stretched them into the second day, making as low as 8 correct answers (BA). This makes me pretty sad about my current condition. :)

Third day I'm turning into Reading Comprehension (RC) and Critical Reasoning (CR). I was more confident about RC, but I scored it as low as 10 (stands for Average (AV)), but still better then the first two ones. CR made me really sick, and I was pretty disappointed of it, but I made 9 (Above Average (AA)) and this really amused me then. :)

My goal for tomorrow (or late tonight) is Sentence Correction (SC) (starting p.39). It's known to be one of the toughest, so I'll to stay away from desperation.

I've ordered two more books, Kaplan GMAT 2009 Comprehensive Program and Princeton Review's Cracking the GMAT, 2009 Edition. I have a gut feeling that I'm wasting money, but I don't want to wait for these books if this is something I really need. I'm also advised to get Manhattan's GMAT Sentence Correction Preparation Guide, 3rd Edition as it one of the best guides for SC, but I'm pretty pressed in cash for now.